5 tips to avoid falling victim to a scam

Startling new research released by the Customer Owned Banking Association (COBA) for Scams Awareness Week reveals that 8 in 10 people have experienced being approached by a cyber-criminal in the past two years, and of those affected a quarter did what was asked of them.

The findings – based on an Essential Research poll of 1094 people – investigated the incidence of scams that ask people to click on a link such as ‘missed delivery’ text messages, hand over personal information such as bank account or credit card details, or send money or goods.

Scammers are becoming more sophisticated, creating believable scenarios that can be hard to detect.  All age groups and demographics are susceptible – higher levels of education did not reduce the likelihood of being a victim of a scam.

On the positive side, regardless of whether they were a victim, most of those who experienced a form of cybercrime are now more cautious when engaging with emails, texts and calls from unrecognised senders, with women the wariest.

Here at the Illawarra Credit Union, we care deeply about the impact scams have on people in our community. We support our customers by raising awareness of scams via our website, social media channels & community engagement events. Our top five tips to avoid falling victim to a scam follow:

5 tips to avoid falling victim to a scam

  1. Do NOT click the link!

If you receive a text message that contains a link, do not click on the link unless you are confident it is legitimate.  Regularly install operating system updates and use anti-virus software.

  1. Never provide any of your personal or banking details

Never provide any of your personal or banking details to someone you don’t know and trust, and never provide banking passcodes (including authentication codes received via phone or email) to anyone.

  1. Call back using details you find in an independent search

If you receive a suspicious request from someone who says they represent an organisation or government agency, call back using details you find in an independent search, rather than details they give you.

  1. Be wary of unusual payment requests

Scammers will often ask you to use an unusual payment method, including preloaded debit cards, gift cards, iTunes cards or virtual currency such as Bitcoin.

  1. Contact their bank or financial institution immediately

Anyone who has provided their banking details to a scammer should contact their bank or financial institution immediately.

From 8-12 November the ACCC’s Scamwatch service holds its annual Scams Awareness Week. This year’s theme is ‘Let’s Talk Scams’. As a member of the Customer Owned Banking Association, one of the founding members of the Scams Awareness Network, we encourage all Australians to talk to their friends and family about scams.

Where to seek help:

If you've lost money or given your personal details to a scammer, there are steps you can take straight away to limit the damage and protect yourself from further loss.

  • If you've sent money or shared your banking or credit card details, contact us
  • If you've given your personal information to a scammer, visit IDCARE (, Australia and New Zealand's not-for-profit national identity and cyber support service. IDCARE can work with you to develop a specific response plan to your situation and support you through the process.
  • Take the time to warn your friends and family about these scams.

If the scam occurred on social media, report it to the social media platform.

Register for Australian Government’s Scamwatch email alerts to get updates on the latest types of scams targeting Australian consumers and small business.

Visit the Scamwatch website to find out:

Important notes

The advice on this website is general in nature and has been prepared without taking into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. You must decide whether or not it is appropriate, in light of your own circumstances, to act on this advice. 

The content in this article was provided by COBA.

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